Jones tops PNC/R’s Central Executive; Jagdeo says youths used as ‘props’

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Days after its 20th Biennial Delegates Congress, the People’s National Congress Reform (PNC/R) finally released its new Central Executive Committee, which revealed Christopher Jones emerging as the only young person who captured the majority of the votes.

The results show that Jones, who is the Head of the National Sports Commission (NSC), captured a total of 382 votes followed by Aubrey Norton with 354 and Winston Felix with 305.

Other members of the Executive Committee are Dr Richard Van-West Charles (Managing Director of GWI), Amna Ally (Minister of Social Protection), Mortimer Mingo, Clement Corlette, Cheryl Sampson, Thandi McAllister, Gary Best (former Cheif-of-Staff, GDF), Genevieve Allen, Jennifer Ferreira-Dougal, Edward Collins, Dr Karen Cummings (Minister within Ministry of Health) and Basil Blackman.

Commenting on the new make-up of the PNC/R Executive, General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Bharrat Jagdeo told a news conference on Thursday that the PNC/R used “young people as props” at  the Congress since the new leadership is loaded with individuals in their 50s and 60s.

Noting that youths were similarly used by the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) as tokens during the 2015 elections campaign, Jagdeo contended that the majority of people on the new Central Committee are over 60 years old.

“So once again…young people were just used as props,” he said.

The former president also observed that newly elected chairperson Volda Lawrence failed to command more than 50% of the estimated 800 delegates who voted at the internal elections.

Bharrat Jagdeo

“What I do know is that not a single one of the three persons who contested commanded a majority of the delegates and that’s an extremely weak position to be in and to move forward in,” he posited.

Averaging that Lawrence garnered some 42%, he pointed out that Joseph Harmon gained 35% while Basil Williams a mere 22%.

Explaining that approximately 1000 delegates were present at the PNC/R’s Congress, Jagdeo contended that in actuality, Lawrence received less than 35% of the total support.

“If you calculate what Volda got on the basis of the attendance of the delegates, her votes, then it’s under 35 percent of the delegates who attended the Congress voted for Volda Lawrence so that’s an extremely weak position to be in as a leader or the Chairman of your party,” Jagdeo explained.

Jagdeo contended that successive PPP Governments have included youths and women in many leadership roles.

He noted that in its current leadership structure, women, as well as youths, play a major role in the decision-making process of the Party.

He recalled at the PPP’s 2016 Congress, a number of young people were elected to the Party’s Central and Executive Committees.

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